Saturday, October 3, 2009

More Books

Not much new on the stitching front, but I've read a couple more books. I started my annotated copy of Pride and Prejudice as part of the Everything Austen Challenge. The notes are interesting, although at this point, I don't need so many words explained. But I did find one note in particular very helpful. It was about a remark Elizabeth makes to Darcy when she is staying at Netherfield with Jane. She and Caroline Bingley are out walking in the garden one morning and they meet up with Mrs. Hurst and Mr. Darcy. Caroline takes Mr. Darcy's other arm, and as there is only room enough on the path for three to walk together, Elizabeth is left out. Darcy tries to include her, but Elizabeth declines, saying that a fourth added to the scene would spoil the harmony. This is a reference to a book written by William Gilpin about the picturesque in landscape painting. Apparently, Gilpin used illustration of cows to make his points. So this is a very subtle insult to Darcy and Bingley's sisters.

I had read about a challenge on the Austenprose blog to read Lady Susan, but it was too late to sign up for it. But I did manage to read it on my own for the first time. What a novel! Lady Susan is totally different from Austen's other works. For one thing, it is told through a series of letters exchanged between different characters. This creates sort of a barrier in front of the reader because you don't see the action unfolding before you. Instead, you get someone else's version of what has happened, and you have to judge for yourself how reliable or biased that character might be. Lady Susan is also a very different heroine because she is a bad person. Think Austen mean girl all grown up. Or Erica Kane. I had to keep reminding myself that this was by Austen, but I enjoyed it very much.

Every October I try to read something gothic or scary. A couple of years ago I read short stories by Daphne du Maurier. Another year I watched "Poltergeist" on TV. (At least that time, I didn't have any fears about facing my bedroom closet.) This year I picked up a novel in my TBR pile, From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris. This is number eight in a series featuring Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress whose friends include vampires, wereanimals, witches, a shape shifter, and a fairy godmother. Since this is the first of these novels that I'm reading, there is a lot of back story that I'm not really familiar with. And I'm not quite sure if the vampires and wereanimals are sympathetic characters or not. While I like the setting, (the fictional Bon Temps, LA) and the breezy tone, I don't know if I'll make a point to read the other novels in the series.

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